Monday, October 1, 2018

What is the foundation for long term, successful teamwork? - part #2

In a world where the digital economy is having a big impact, we as leaders need to understand the 4-D team development journey if we are going to be successful. However, the first in this process is to step back from focusing on 4-D teams and understand somethings about “analog” teams.

Analog teams were created and became successful because of the following factors. First, there was daily face to face communication. This happened because everyone worked in the same office. Second, leaders role modeled key behaviors before, during and after teamwork. Some of those behaviors were social and others involved more technical skills. For the most part, task focused behaviors often trumped relationship oriented behaviors on analog teams. Third, heritage relationships, i.e. ones built over a long period of time, often impacted success. Furthermore, there were limited opportunities for networking outside the office location. Finally, qualitative measures were valued as much as quantitive measures of progress. The “feel” of success was valued as much as the facts around getting it all done. In short, analog teams generated success through mutual trust, shared values, and a clearly defined mission/purpose, all of which resulted in collective pride. What we do not recognize is that the above required lots of self-discipline plus a degree of self and group awareness

On the other hand, 4-D teams are more “global, virtual and project-driven.” 4-D teams struggle because they have limited face time and are dependent on digital communication which often prevents the ability to understand nonverbal and contextual clues which often provide insight into what is going on.

Next, 4-D teams rarely hold in-person meetings which removes the ability for an understanding of individual and collective moods of the group. This, in combination with a limited number of heritage relationships, means that leaders have a limited level of role modeling due to distance between team members.

Furthermore, 4-D teams are routinely multi-office based and they involve people who are highly networked through out multiple circles of individuals, inside and outside the company e.g. Face Book & Linked-In. Therefore, people are more consultation or coordination focused rather than typical teamwork focused. They also have more social network connections rather than technical, and analytical connections. There is more data-based decision-making involved and they use a series of dash board measurements to make these decision. Many have multi-level definitions of success.

Over time, it has become clear to me that 4-D teams generate success through transparent performance measures, where everyone is able to see the “dash board results.” These transparent performance standards with their clear tracking of results by everyone assumes that all team members know what is expected of them, know how performance is measured and know why it matters. 

However, there is a rising problem in the 4-D team model, namely that communication about “why the team needs to work as a team” is rarely done and often is the main cause for why most 4-D teams fail. Furthermore, this in combination with not knowing how to “read” the data and transform it into useful information is causing many teams to struggle quite deeply in problem solving and execution.

This week, reflect on the differences between 4-D teams and analog teams. Are you equipping your people and your teams to be successful in the 4-D team model?

Geery Howe, M.A. Consultant, Executive Coach, Trainer in Leadership, Strategic Planning and Organizational Change Morning Star Associates 319 - 643 - 2257

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